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Russian Tank T-72M1



S u m m a r y

Stock No. & Description: Trumpeter Kit No. MM-00306; Russia Tank T-27M1
Contents and Media: 237 parts (212 in olive styrene, 17 in clear vinyl, 4 in black vinyl, 2 metallic stickers, 1 nylon string, 1 nylon screen)
Price: (US) $15-22
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: None, other than price and a pre-wired motor assembly
Disadvantages: Cheap knock-off of the Tamiya T-72M1 kit
Recommendation: Not Acceptable. Leave this kit for the Chinese home market; at best, may be suitable for younger children as a beginner kit


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


F i r s t   L o o k


I have had some running commentary with other modelers over my lack of enthusiasm for Trumpeter kits. There have been a number of reasons, including the use of ABS or other unknown plastic material in some kits, poor research and proportions in others, or filching from other companies' work for nothing. I will state that I categorically do not like, and as a rule do not purchase, "knock-offs" of other companies' models as the copy is cheaper than the original. In most cases, you rarely get an improvement, and more often simple waste money on junk.

This kit is a perfect example of a not-so-hot kit from Tamiya, rapidly copied by the Wasan Plastic Company (Trumpeter's producer), and rigged up with just enough changes to survive all but a determined fight in a world patent court. The result is essentially worthless.

What you get is a poor copy of the Tamiya T-72M1 with a pre-assembled motor and gear box, and only one neat feature: a built-in battery box accessed from the bottom of the hull for battery changes, so that the kit only need be assembled once and then run until the motor fries somewhere down the road.

The rest of the kit is a poor imitation of the Tamiya kit. Trumpeter even had the audacity to COPY the Tamiya instructions and part of the box art nearly verbatim, including the helpful cartoon Soviet tanker figure, and head up the directions with a shot of a Tamiya T-72M1 kit fully assembled! Parts (such as the fuel line assemblies) provided in the Tamiya kit are called out, but are not present in the kit. To see what a bad copy this is, you need to place the two side by side. Suffice it to say that the original, turret problems and all, still makes this thing pale in comparison.

Even small parts are poorly done. The vinyl keepers for the road wheels are about 2mm too long, and the wheels cannot be assembled unless this much material is removed with a knife or razor blade from each keeper. The etched metal grilles on the Tamiya engine deck are reduced to chrome stickers! For a case of really awful copying, the sharp features of the Tamiya figure have devolved to what looks like a chocolate Easter rabbit who spent too much time in the sun.

Oh, one good thing. This kit is made of injected molded styrene, and does take all cements I tried well.

Purchasing such kits as this does not lower the price of the Tamiya kit; all it does is show how much better it is, and send money to greedy pirates who do not deserve it. Years ago Academy did this and was hounded for it by many modelers in the US and elsewhere; but they have learned and moved on, and the choice of their M12 155mm GMC as Best New Plastic Kit for 2000 at the AMPS 2001 International Convention speaks reams of the changes at Academy. I can hope that someday we will see this level of quality from Trumpeter, but it's sure not found in this kit.

Not Recommended.

Cookie Sewell AMPS

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Review Copyright 2000 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 06 May, 2001
Last updated 19 July, 2003

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